Jamaica is an island of secrets. Everybody knows that it has beautiful sandy beaches, that you will hear reggae music pumping out from wound-down car windows and that you can party into the night.
But not everybody knows that you can be punted down a river on a bamboo raft, drifting in the shade of giant mango and breadfruit trees, freewheel a mountain bike down a lush hillside, ride a horse across a deserted beach, or visit the homes of Ian Fleming and Noël Coward.
Jamaica continues to stay atop the leaderboard of golf destinations in the Caribbean. Each of the 12 picturesque courses encircles the island like a necklace, providing enough of a test to make even Tiger put on his game face.
The island has several championship courses, such as Montego Bay’s mountain-to-sea Half Moon Golf Club, Tryall Club, White Witch, where 16 of the holes overlook the sea, and Cinnamon Hill Golf Club. Cinnamon Hill, at Rose Hall Resort & County Club, features a jungle waterfall, an 18th-century aqueduct and the house where Johnny Cash spent 20 winters. Jamaica is also home to the oldest golf course in the western hemisphere – Manchester Golf Club, in Mandeville. Golf academies provide lessons for visitors to learn with former pros, and Half Moon will host the annual Jamaica Open in October.
Balmy temperatures year-round and layouts designed by renowned architects translate into great golf. Top-name designers Robert Trent Jones Snr, Robert von Hagge and others have crafted courses to fit any game – from scratch players to high-handicappers. The US PGA and the LPGA tours have made regular stops on the island.
The use of caddies – a dying art form today at many courses – also keeps the island ahead of the field. Equipped with their expert local knowledge, Jamaican caddies can provide clever commentary offering first-rate advice on wind conditions and club selection. They may even carry the golf bags on their heads – a sight to behold!
Off the beaten track
Jamaica offers much more than white sandy beaches and clear blue seas. At all points of the compass there are so many special places to discover.
There’s the contrasting East with the tranquillity of Port Antonio and the vibrant bustle of Kingston – brimming with sights, sounds and rich aromas. Or casual Negril in the West – famous for its seven-mile beach, sunsets and the rum cocktails at Ricks Café!
And from hedonistic Montego Bay to magical Ocho Rios, the North coast summons all of us to come out and play with watersports and waterfalls, to a breathtaking round of golf. Or, if you fancy life off the beaten track, visit the less travelled South. It’s Jamaica’s diamond in the rough, home to crocodiles, Treasure Beach and mouth-watering seafood.
Think Jamaica, and you’ll probably imagine sun, sand and reggae music, but there’s so much more to this beautiful island. Having such a friendly, multi-cultural population makes Jamaica a country rich in customs and traditions. Steeped in a history of pioneers, pirates and a strong British heritage, it’s a country with huge passions including cricket, dominoes and carnival!
The locals love to dance – it’s an integral part of everyday life here. They believe it’s best to leave your inhibitions at the door, and let the music set you free!
So much will take you by surprise in a culture which is as vibrant as its art, as unique as each sunset and as diverse as its people. No wonder it’s known as “the biggest little island in the world”!
Jamaica is one of the most special places on earth. But to appreciate a holiday here you really do need to immerse yourself in the culture.
Jamaicans love their food, and no matter what your tastes, from gourmet dining to grandma’s kitchen, you’ll never leave hungry!
No trip would be complete without Jerk Chicken, Saltfish or Ackee – a fruit that, surprisingly, tastes and looks like scrambled egg! Or be tempted by another local delicacy such as Rum and Ting, or Ice Cold Jelly, which is a deliciously frozen coconut milk.
Everything in Jamaica seems just that little bit sweeter, from its West Indian Pumpkin to its many types of juicy mango. And, just a little more flavourful. Maybe it’s the sun. Maybe it’s that touch of love they put into everything.
Once you’re there you’ll discover Jamaica’s secret – it’s the secret of a life lived fully on an island as diverse as its people. Once you go, you know.
For more information, contact your local travel agent or contact the Jamaica Tourist Board on 020 7225 9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org